11 JULY 1992, Page 24

Onward Christian soldier

Sir: Your leading article (`So shall ye sow', 4 July) manages to imply that organisations like Christian Aid have funded brutalitY and murder in South Africa. This is com- pletely untrue. Christian Aid has never and would never fund those engaged in armed

struggle. We have, however, been proud to have been regarded as a suitable help-mate to men and women who have worked hard and long and at great cost to themselves to bring apartheid to an end. One or two other things need saying for the sake of truth.

First, Christians have always agonised over whether or not armed struggle is com- patible with their faith. Most Christians in Europe during the 1930s and '40s thought that it was. Many Church leaders in South Africa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu among them, disagree.

Second, the fundamental cause of vio- lence in South Africa at the present time is the long history of State violence in the form of apartheid. The patience and for- b. earance of black people in the face of it, Including the ANC, is a modern miracle of grace which it seems all too convenient to overlook.

Third, the South African Council of Churches, far from promoting violence, has spent almost all of its energies supporting the victims of violence such as prisoners and their dependents, and working for Peace with justice. Fourth, on what grounds do you suggest that a theology which insists that injustice Should be put right now and cannot wait for the next world is an inversion or perversion of the Christian gospel? You cleverly insin- uate that the consequences of such a view can be brutal. You ignore the fact that countless Christians who hold it are com- mitted to non-violence.

Michael H. Taylor

Director, Christian Aid P 0 Box 100, London SE1